Choosing the woodblock is not pure happenstance either. It is the lead driver that pulls me into John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine. The piece has thrust and excitement and pulls away from the concept that minimalism has to be restrictive, diminishing, or exclusionary. Short Ride is explosive and includes as much as possible in as short amount of time as possible, but in the end, it is still minimalism. And that woodblock follows you through nearly the entire piece!
For what it's worth, here's the parts list by engineer Mark Grey, for the optional synthesizers to be used in John Adams' Short Ride in a Fast Machine, complete with performance practice notes:
The score reads: "** Synthesizer: the sound should be similar to an "analog brass" voice with a moderately fast attack, for example the "Anna Brass" preset on the Yamaha SY77. The speakers should be placed directly behind the players. The sound should never be mixed into the auditorium PA system. The level should be adjusted to mix with the rest of the orchestra and not predominate. The synthesizers parts are optional." Note: The above Equipment List is a recommendation. Any synthesizer containing an "analog brass" (with a moderately fast attack) type of sound will be appropriate for production.Who was Beethoven's engineer of record, anyway?